According to the Wild Matryoshka, the storyteller Stasha Ginsbourg, today, often known as “April Fool’s Day” has its origins in an earlier calendar…
In the Middle Ages, up until the late 18th century, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. (The Goddess of Spring was originally a Goddess for the New Year).
Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates.
It seems to me that it is a bit foolish to celebrate New Year’s at any time other than Spring. I mean Nature is celebrating a new year with the new growth of every living thing.
This gave me permission to feel the hopefulness of new beginnings, after three months in which everything felt a bit too hard, and a bit too much.
So why not begin, now? When you feel the quickening and the buds and the fire kindling within all things?
I recently read a piece from the author of Pleasure Activism, adrienne maree brown, in which she declared:
“i have been meditating each morning,” she writes. “i stand up and do at least one sun salutation before moving beyond my bedroom.”
she plays wordle, swims laps, stretches — many small things, many of which are triggered by reminders on her phone, compounding to help her land in her body, tend to her needs.
“i am giving up practices that don’t align with my values or well being. which doesn’t mean they never happen, but they are more and more aberration than practice.”
It’s like a practice update – what serves? what doesn’t serve? What made sense through the winter? What signals a shift into spring and new beginnings?
And, as Natalie Rousseau, recently-of-Pemberton, embodied ritual and yoga teacher, says, don’t try to be overly heroic. When we try to be heroes, the minute we step out the door, it is too much, too fast, and we doom ourselves to failure. Just do one small thing. Just take one step at a time.
brown says it thus:
if it all feels like way too much, find one practice you can commit to every day, even if you start with only one minute, one rep, one bow, one cycle, one lap, one stanza, one page. one cry. one moment of choice. do it deeply, with reverence. or quickly, haphazard…but do it. we become what we practice.
what are you practicing?
This is the time for seeds and eggs… what small seed might you tuck into a bed of warm dark earth? What one gesture of self-kindness might you take today? I’m filling up the jug of water at my desk, and putting a nice small pottery mug next to it, and practicing hydration, without squandering energy looking back and castigating myself for falling off the hydration-wagon sometime mid January…
Spring reminds us that time moves in cycles, not straight lines, a wheel of seasons going around and around… If you fall off something, get back on. If you drop something, pick it up again on the next go around. If you need a fresh start, pull out a blank page. Let other people call you an April Fool’s, but why don’t we claim it as a brand new year.